How do you design a beautiful movie when your starting point is a line of famous “ugly-cute” dolls? “Trolls” art director Tim Lamb acknowledged that it was a challenge: “The only thing people know about them is that they’re kinda ugly and kinda cute. They look like babies and old men all at once. So we had to find a way to contemporize the design and make them more appealing.” Lamb was part of a “Meet the Experts” panel presented by Gold Derby at the Landmark Theater in L.A. on Nov. 9 to spotlight great achievements in crafts.
“So we made some updates,” said Lamb. He made sure a focal point of the design would be the troll dolls’ most distinctive feature: their hair. “Poppy, for example, is the heroine of the movie; we chose a very intense pink for her because we wanted her to be the most contrasted to Branch, Justin Timberlake‘s character, who’s grey, which represents him being unhappy. We looked for opposites in shape, opposites in color.”
“Trolls” tells the story of Poppy (Anna Kendrick) and Branch, who work to rescue her friends after Troll Village is invaded by the large, perpetually unhappy Bergens. “We wanted to treat those worlds completely differently,” Lamb explained of the jolly Trolls and the miserable Bergens, “not just from a color palette standpoint, but also from a tactile quality” that would set apart their textures.
Before “Trolls,” Lamb worked on one other animated film, “Mr. Peabody & Sherman” (2014), for which he received a pair of Annie Award nominations: Best Character Design and Best Production Design.
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